Maca Root was domesticated during the pre-Inca, Arcaicia Period sometime around 3800 B.C., with primitive cultivars of Maca being found in archaeological sites dating back to 1600 B.C. It continued to be cultivated by the Incas centuries ago as a valuable nutritious dietary staple and medicinal commodity. The indigenous people used it for centuries to enhance fertility in humans and animals.

Soon after the Spanish conquest in South America, the Spaniards found that their livestock was reproducing poorly in the highlands, and the local tribes recommended Maca. So remarkable were the results that the Spanish chroniclers wrote in-depth reports, saying that Maca improved the reproductive health of their horses, and in another report from 1549, the Spanish encomendero, de Soto Mayor, was given Maca Root as a tribute, which he used to improve the fertility of livestock in Castille. It was considered so valuable that in 1572, the Chinchaycochas Indians used Maca for bartering, and colonial records indicate that tribute was demanded in the form of nine tons of Maca.